With unprecedented challenges to this decade, higher education institutions (HEIs) in Canada are still in the process of recovering from the impact of the pandemic. International education company M Square Media (MSM) explored the projections and outlook for the sector and how it is evolving to rise to the needs of the times in the MSM Think In Canada webinar held last Feb. 28, 2022.
Titled “Beyond 2022: Shaping the Next Decade of Canadian Higher Education,” the webinar featured esteemed panelists Sandra Schinnerl, Ph.D., a researcher who has been making waves on immigration and education policy, and Amrik Virk, Chair for the MSM Canada Advisory Board and former Minister of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services and Minister of Advanced Education for British Columbia.
Schinnerl, who is active in the field of international education, and has expertise in policy formation, immigration policy, data analysis and data visualization, is a Queen Elizabeth Golden Jubilee Medal recipient and former member of the CBIE Board of Directors and NAFSA Leadership Circle. Meanwhile, Virk was also a highly decorated police officer with a 26-year career with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) prior to elected office. He received the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal and Queen’s Silver Jubilee Medal for his exemplary service and retired as a “Commissioned Officer” at the rank of Inspector.
The online forum was moderated by MSM Higher Ed President, seasoned educator Donna Hooker.
Schinnerl revealed that student and post-graduate permits are a major part of the temporary worker population. “They are greater than all other foreign worker permits in Canada and they will continue to be for several years to come as we are still on that increasing curve of international students,” she added.
The Think In also discussed the immigration policy in which private career colleges are restricted from post-graduate work permits in most provinces, with the exception of New Brunswick, which has established a pilot project.
“[The decision on this] has to be evidence-based. The analysis of one province may not fit another part of the province. So you’ll have regions that are underserved, that require labor, the ages of the natural population have gone up so hence even within the province, one stroke to fit an entire province does not work. It requires more data and analysis,” Virk said.
The panelists also offered their insights on the various responsibilities of institutional leaders, and the opportunities ahead for institutions. They tackled HEIs’ role in enhancing economic development and migration trends in their communities and provinces in Canada.
“Although we are in the business of providing world-class education, in reality, we have now become part of the immigration pathway for people and it is a factor that helps attract students to our institutions and it’s also something that we need to consider because we are now gatekeepers. Much of what we do helps to decide who gets into the country…who has opportunities for permanent migration pathways,” Schinnerl said.
The webinar further discussed opportunities for IRCC or provincial governments with Provincial Nominee Programming in regards to attracting international students to study, gain employment and perhaps make their home in Canada.
“We should look at the multiplier effect. The immigrant who comes through a Provincial Nominee Program can be a multiplier…internationally trained, professional of some sort that comes in and can be a multiplier. This can be a software engineer who eventually employs seven other students,” Amrik pointed out.
“The PNP program works better in attracting the already graduated individual, perhaps doing a postgraduate degree here or a doctoral thesis here, that individual then becomes a job multiplier. This can be used more in the postgraduate side of international recruitment and perhaps less so in the undergraduate in the Provincial Nominee Program,” he clarified.
The MSM Think In Canada event was open to higher education officials and education agents. It was part of the MSM Think In webinar sessions that offer a close look at the latest trends and development across the higher education industry. Organized by the international education company MSM, it aimed to incite further thinking, critique or action across participants.
About M Square Media
M Square Media (MSM) is a Canada-based education company and leader in innovation and globalization initiatives in the international education sector. MSM serves 800+ partner institutions around the world through its global and in-country office model. Since its founding in 2012, the company has processed more than 110,000 student applications. Its services include student recruitment, global and in-country offices, pathways & public private partnerships (PPP). MSM also runs an Edtech platform and a wide range of education technology solutions, among others.
Headquartered in British Columbia, MSM is present in 21 countries. It offers leading-edge international recruitment, marketing, and business development solutions to partners in 36 countries including Canada, United States, United Kingdom, Europe, Australia and New Zealand.
With its diverse business approach, MSM effectively reaches its goals in terms of student recruitment numbers as it aims to contribute to sustainable institutional growth. Through this, MSM serves the stakeholders of the international education industry: Higher Education Institutions, agents and international students and learners. Overall, the company’s diversity allows it to be a leader in people and community empowerment through education, technology, and partnerships with industry and the academe.
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